Ok, so today the debate continues on MSN about obesity in America. Once again, it is suggested that PSAs should show "a person complaining about how a fat neighbor's medical bills are costing taxpayers"
There are a couple of problems with this thinking.
First of all, not all fat people are lazy, gluttonous or unhealthy. To be sure, some (perhaps many) are, but I'll get to that in a moment. I am personally about 75 lb. overweight. I walk several miles a day, I do yoga several times a week, I bike, yadda, yadda, yadda. I 'out move' my 16 year old daughter who would slip into a coma if she moved any less, and she's about 5'5' and can't weigh more than 100 lb. I can think of at least a half dozen people in my own little social circle who are far thinner than I am, move less and eat more. Oh, who also spend thousands annually on medical bills. I've spent maybe $1500 in the last 17 years, INCLUDING my homebirth (proven to be as safe as, or safer than, hospital and far less expensive) and my broken arm (acquired while ROLLER BLADING no less).
Second of all, if it's ok to single out fat people for the medical bills the taxpayers end up shouldering, perhaps we could deal with the fact that as a taxpayer, I object to paying for hospital births and formula. Hospital births cost 3 to 10 times more than a homebirth with a midwife (depending on if the birth is simply full of non-medically indicated intervention or if it's surgical), with NO (none, zip, nadda) improvement in outcomes. No fewer babies die. No fewer mothers die. The only difference is that more mothers and babies do suffer injuries IN THE HOSPITAL, costing the U.S taxpayers at least 7 B-I-L-L-I-O-N annually. In fact, with increasing technology, mortality (death) rates for babies has risen in the last 20 years, and remained unchanged for mothers. Countries where homebirth and miwives are the norm have far better outcomes than the U.S.
Now, here's the really ironic part: as a tax payer, I have to pay for formula for the nearly one million WIC recipients who will not breastfeed.
If you add in the costs of all women who don't breastfeed, the "Total Annual Cost of not Breastfeeding: $1.186 to $1.301 billion" (yes, that's B-I-L-L-I-O-N EACH YEAR"
That isn't even adding up the 2 to 5 times more illnesses bottle-fed babies will generate 'medical bills costing taxpayers'. Me. I pay for that.
Where's the irony, you may ask? Here it is. Formula feeding, among other things, increases OBESITY rates.
This shouldn't be surprising since formula ingredients include cow's milk (whey protein concentrate-another irony is that mothers are told not to give their babies milk for the first year, yet a waste product from the diary industry is in the food they give their babies) and sugar (maltodextrin), which are both implicated in obesity. Therefore, by birthing my daughter at home, breastfeeding her, and not constantly giving her antibiotics and contributing to the antibiotic resistance problem imposed on me by all the parents who insist on antibiotics for their kid's recurrent ear infections and colds against the advice of the CDC I've
SAVED taxpayers THOUSANDS.
Now, instead of getting pissy about how much my fat costs you, let's be fair. If we really want to get serious about eradicating obesity and the toll it takes on us financially, let's stop subsidizing sugar "to the tune of $1.4 billion US annually" ; or beef, which would cost $35 dollars a pound if it wasn't subsidized ; or milk. Simply making these items prohibitively expensive would lower obesity rates. Oh, and how about tossing potatoes into the mix, considering the popularity of chips and french fries.
Now, instead of subsidizing unhealthy products, help out bean, legume, fruit and vegetable farmers. Tax the hell out of things like violent video games that keep kids tethered to the couch (at the very least). This would place the burden on the truly lazy, gluttonous, but most importantly of all, unhealthy people.
But that won't happen because the consumers of those products we KNOW contribute to the problem includes plenty of THIN people. We don't REALLY want to actually FIX the problem; we just want a reason to blame fat people because some thin people like to feel sanctimonious. We don't want actually deal with the root issues because that would make a lot of thin people feel sad that they didn't have a reason to revile fat people. All fat people deserve to feel bad. Right?